Welcome Mat: A special holiday shopping experience, done safely from home

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Miguel Denyer

A special holiday shopping experience, done safely from home

You can still find more than 2,500 unique gifts online through the Michigan Holiday Art Fair, which has been extended because of  popular demand. Integrity Shows heard from many who wanted to shop for one-of-a-kind items made by artists this year, especially since traditional venues have been canceled. Participating artists will remain open on this temporary site until the end of December. Most have recorded demonstrations and bios and all have a way to contact them. Go ahead and spend a little extra time picking out something special for everyone on your list safely from home. For information, go to miartfair.com.

Romeo Historical Society

A holiday ornament that celebrates area history

If you’re looking for a special holiday ornament for yourself or someone else this season, the collectible houses from the Romeo Historical Society have a local spin. Featured for 2020, the Omar Thompson Jr. residence that sells for $25 has classic charm. It depicts a Colonial Revival home built in 1901 that was filled with the finest materials like solid cherry woodwork and leaded glass windows. For a Christmas tree with an architectural theme, there are some other historic home ornaments still available from previous years for $10 to $15. For information, go to romeohistoricalsociety.org.

Keep pests away with these tips

To avoid a pest infestation this season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has some advice. “Spiders, ants and ticks like to hide deep in the branches of live greenery and many other pests, including spotted lanternflies, like to lay eggs in them as well, making thorough inspections crucial to preventing an infestation,” said Cindy Mannes, senior vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Inspect fresh greens and shake them out before bringing inside. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and 5 feet off the ground and inspect it beforehand. When disposing of live greenery, place it as far from the house as possible. Contact a licensed pest control professional if an infestation is suspected. For information, go to pestworld.org.

Pull Start Fire

Fires easy to start with this tool

As more people try to maximize outdoor space and camping reaches an all-time high, they'll be wanting to start cozy fires quickly.  With Pull Start Fire, an eco-friendly fire starter that puts the blaze in your bonfire without any matches, lighters, kindling or fluids, that's an easy task. Simply pull the string and it instantly ignites your wood, burning for more than 30 minutes, even with wind and rain. Just add wood or logs. Made from 89 percent recycled material, Pull Start Fire (priced at $17 for a 3-pack) can be found on their website and Amazon as well as retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods. For information, go to pullstartfire.com.

Pier 1 Imports is offering items online only after its stores closed.

Pier 1 back, in online form

Fans of Pier 1 who were  sad to see the stores close will be cheered to  know the retailer has returned, if exclusively online. Known for unique home decor, from furniture to accent pieces, their selection lets you explore a variety of styles. Whether you’re feeling boho, coastal, traditional, farmhouse, or all of the above, Pier 1 products help you create spaces that speak to your distinct personality. They also want to be a go-to source for inspiration. Check out for their new blog Pier 1 of a Kind. For information, go to pier1.com.